Union officials are “deeply disappointed” with the decision by engineering firm Cummins Turbo Technology to scrap plans for a new factory at Ainley Top.
Now union Unite has called for talks with the company “to secure a healthy future for the current Huddersfield site”.
The turbocharger firm announced on Wednesday that it has axed plans to build a multi-million pound manufacturing facility on land at the junction of Brighouse Road and New Hey Road – close to the M62 and just inside the Calderdale border.
Instead, the US-owned company will upgrade its existing facilities at its headquarters at St Andrew’s Road, Turnbridge.
Unite regional officer Richard Bedford said the union was deeply disappointed with the company’s decision not to go-ahead with the new manufacturing plant.
He said: “Union officials on site and its members fully embraced the new manufacturing plant, including accepting changes to terms and conditions in the 2014–2018 pay deal to secure the investment in Huddersfield.
“Unite will be monitoring developments on behalf of its members very closely in the days and weeks ahead and the union negotiating committee will be meeting to discuss the impact of the company’s decision on the remaining years of this deal.
“It is our intention to enter into discussions with the company to discuss a way forward and to secure a healthy future for the current Huddersfield site. We call on management to be as transparent as possible with the workforce at this current time.”
Meanwhile, Calderdale Council chiefs have pledged to continue promoting the area as a focus for advanced engineering.
In a statement, it said: “The council is aware of Cummins decisions not to proceed with its proposals at Ainley Top. Many Calderdale residents will continue to be employed at its centre in Huddersfield.
See where the factory would have been
“Calderdale Council will continue to work closely with advanced manufacturing businesses in the M62 corridor, building on centres of excellence around Brighouse and Elland.”
Clr Barry Collins, the council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “We are fortunate to have a number leading international advanced manufacturers in Calderdale.
“While Cummins have chosen not to proceed at the moment, their interest has signalled the strength and potential of Calderdale in this area. As a council we will continue to support such firms and look to our Local Plan to identify sites for further development by such companies.”
Adrian Lythgo, chief executive of Kirklees Council, said: “The council’s overriding priority has always been to see employment stay local and for Cummins to continue to thrive. It is disappointing that global conditions mean they cannot make the investment they intended but we are delighted to see their intention to investment in the existing site.”
Cummins said yesterday it had made the “difficult decision” on the basis of “challenging” market conditions which had hit sales in the firm’s international markets; “very weak” global demand in power generation, mining, marine, oil and gas markets; and the higher-than-expected costs, complexity and time related to the proposed Ainley Top development.
It said uncertainty following the Brexit vote had been one of the factors, but stressed: “The number one factor in pulling out of this facility was the weakening market in a lot of areas.”
The move would have seen about 400 jobs transfer to a new 18,000sq ft facility at Ainley Top. The existing manufacturing buildings on the left side of St Andrew’s Road as you head towards the John Smith’s Stadium from Aspley were to be demolished and the land sold.
Now Cummins will upgrade those buildings, which stand across the road from the firm’s technical centre employing another 600 people in areas such as research and development, after-market operations and business support.